CASTLES OF THE AREA
This area of Germany abounds with Castles of all types,
from elaborate well preserved edifices to picturesque ruins which atest
today of bygone splendour. The small coverage given on these pages is
an attempt to furnish you with a little background which may increase
your understanding when you visit some local castle. Some of the castles
covered would make an ideal family outing on a summer Sunday.
High on the Battert Rock above Baden in the Hohenbaden Castle known
to most people as the Altes Schloss.
This former home of the Lords of Baden was destroyed by the French during
the latter part of the 16th century. The structure is believed to have
dated back to the third century but official history places the foundations
at 1100 AD.
The general layout can be assertained quite easily and the oldest part
is the tall tower which dominates the whole fortress. Main point of
interest in the 3 storied central section which contained the 150 by
60 foot "Knight's Hall". It was built above the 9 dungeons and the lofty
windows and stately gables indicate the former splendour.
A central stone pillar in the floor of the Hall bears the coat of arms
of the "House of Oettingen", one of the, ruling families of bygone days.
The construction of the New Castle an the edge of Baden religated the
Altes Schloss to role of the "Widows Seat". As each new lord took over
the family of the former hero moved up the hill.
After its destruction the fortress stood empty until 1850 when the ruins
were cleared and a restaurant and stable were added, This heralded the
beginning of the Castle's tourist era which is its role today. Make
the Altes Schloss a spot for a Sunday visit.
One of the most well preserved Castles in the area is "Schloss
Favorite". The castle is located between Baden-Baden and Rastatt, near
the village of Kuppenheim. Favorite, the magic castle in the park, is
rightly called the miniature "Sans Soucis" (Without Cares) and like
the French Chateau it is built in the Barock style.
Built in 1710 for the Markgraefin Sybille Augusta, daughters of the
Markgraf of Baden Baden, who was the immensely rich widow of "Tuerken-Louis"
Her husband was the former Markgraf Ludwig Wilhelm, ruler of Rastatt,
and the castle hears his nickname. He obtained his nickname for his
campaigns against the lurks but they also brought about his death in
one of the many battles.
The castle is an "untouched memorial of the 18th century", and all the
interior furnishings remain as they were at that time. These consist
of precious china, cut and polished glass, Chinese and Japanese art,
paintings, figurines, bizarre wax ornaments, silk screens, Florentine
leather, brocades, pearl embroidery and laquer paintings.
Near the castle is an octagon-shaped chapel called the "Magdalene-Kapelle".
Here the Duchess spent the last years of her life in nun-like solitude.
A prince of Baden is presently in residence at the Schloss and guided
tours are possible in the summer months.
On a hill above Buehl is the Castle ruins and restaurant "known as the
Windeck. The castle ruins date back 900 years, the first castle being
erected in the 11th century and called Wird-Eske ( Wing Corner). Its
layout can be mentally reconstructed from the wall remains and the twin
towers. The tallest (81 feet) -the Bergfried - was the defence building
with its entrance 45 feet above the ground level. Windeck castle was
never conquered in spite of countless sieges.
Under a special hereditary law Windeck castle could not pass to the
eldest heir but was to be shared equally by all members of the family.
The resultant housing problem forced the construction of the New Windeck
above Lauf. Bitter family disputes led to the decline of the house after
the death of Reinhard of Windeck in 1411.
In 1592 the last male scion was buried and in 1673 the line died out
completely; the estates wore taken over by the Margrave of Baden, The
old castle was left deserted for years and natures destructive forces
succeeded where man had failed.
The 18th century a small gasthaus opened and was operated for 3 generations
by the Graessel family. In 1945 the castle was requisitioned as an Officers
Mess but the Graessels latter operated the gasthaus until 1957.
1959 saw modern minded business man acquire the castle and a modern
restaurant was perfectly blended with the old castle. Many rooms bear
names significant to former days. The "Forststube" (Forest Room) refers
to the old Forest Inn. The 'Terrasse", a terrace like room with armour
and swords is just above the "Kanzel" (pulpit) which provides a splendid
view of the valley, Others are the "Ritterschenke" (Knights Inn), "Minneklause"
(Old German Love corner) and the "Domdechantenkammer" (Cathedral Deans
The Windeck ghosts consist of a procession of 5 figures seen by the
walls at midnight. A man in black who is followed by 2 white ladies
and their knights. Slowly they move to where the chapel formerly stood
and at one o'clock they return and disappear into the vaults. The ladies
are daughters of the last knight of Windeck who were cheated By his
clerk-man in black, when he drew out the dying knights will. As punishment
he must rise every night from his grave unable to find peace until Judgement
See you at the Windeck
Occupying a commanding, position on a high cliff above the Murg River,
the 13th century Schloss Eberstein provides a sonic view and good wine
Build by the Counts of Eberstein the property came into the possession
of the. house of Baden when the last member of the Eberstein family
died in 1660 leaving heavy debts.
The castle became a favorite summer residence with the Knights Hall
restored to its former splendour.
A romantic legend concerning the castle is recorded on the outside wall
of the Trinkhalle in Baden Baden. Entitled the Grafensprung, it recalls
the, death-defying leap by the Count Eberstein, on horseback down the
steep cliffs towards the river to escape enemy soldiers.
Open to the public during the summer, Schloss Eberstein possesses a
fine collection of mediaeval weapons and suits of Armor. Also, the stone
crucifix in the court yard dating back to 1464 came originally from
the Monastery in Herrenalb.
The tower provides in excellent view of the Black Forest hills and
Murg valley while the terrace restaurant serves the locally produced
Eberblut (Boar's Blood) made from grapes grown on the slopes below the
In the vicinity are the dukes garden house, a small chapel and the entrance
to an old silver mine.
High on a rocky crag above Varnhalt are the stately remains of Yburg
Castle. Although no records indicate the castle's beginnings, it appears
to date to Roman days because of the typical Roman feature of the towers
main entrance being 40 feet above ground level.
In the, 13th century a strong fortress rose on the earlier ruins and
was inhabitated by German knights. Their Swabian castle also vanished
but the wells, draw-well, chapel and dwelling house, attest to its size
The Castle was renovated in the middle ages; however, the last mention
of the Yburg line is recorded at 1510. In 1525 the castle, was looted
and burned during the peasants revolt. Although, some part of the castle
may have survived, as in 1594 two men employed by the irresponsible
Margrave of Baden produced forged silver coins at the castle. They wore
later charged, convicted and sentenced to depth by quartering, for planning
the murder of the Margrave of Baden-Durlach.
Rebuilt at the beginning of the 30 years war, the Castle was burned
down for the last time in 1689 by order of King Louis XIV of France.
The trip is recommended for the daylight hours and the view of the Hills
to the East and Valley to the West are marvellous. There. is also a
restaurant at the castle to cater to your wishes.
This Castle being such major part of Rastatt history is well covered
in that section.
Further to the, earlier coverage the castle now serves as government
offices and as a museum. It is well worth a visit and special attention
should be paid to the beautiful chapel.
Take a little time and visit the castle which originated
the emblem of Rastatt - The Golden Man.
The Kurhaus and Castle Buchlerboeche is a deluxe hotel with an International
reputation. Surrounded by a magnificent park and well kept paths it
is set in the Black Forest Hills overlooking the Rhine Valley. Together
with the nearby Sanitarium it combines cures with every day comforts.
Built in memory of General Van Isenbert by his widow, the resort was
originally for the benefit of German Army Officers. The famous architect
Professor Kreis was the designer with construction commencing in 1912.
When completed in 1914 the war had, interupted the planned handing over
to Emperor Wilhelm II In 1920 a corporate company took over and opened
the castle as a resort.
The ornate structure is built in the Barogue style and the imposing
portals carry the inscription - "Vielen zur Genesung - Einem zum Gedachtnis
(In memory of one - for the Recuperation of Many). You will find the
Schloss Buchlerhoeche 15 miles above Baden in the Black Forest Hills.
A very interesting days outing can be had by visiting the Castle Hohenzollern
located at Hechingen south of Tubingen. Constructed in the 11th century
it took a severe beating for the next 900 years and reconstruction began
The name is derived from "Hohe" meaning "high" - and "Zollern" one of
the most beautiful Swabian mountains. Original home of the Hohenzollern
family which dates from 1160, the castles good condition is due to Prussian
King Wilhelm IV, brother of the first German Emperor.
The ambition of the Hohenzollern family unified Germany and in 1871
the Hohenzollern on the Prussian throne was made Emperor of all Germany.
The family maintained the throne until Germany's defeatin World War
I and Germany became a Republic.
Diggings have shown that the present castle is the third one to have
been erected on the same spot. The first two are believed to have been
Roman and Celtic.
There are many interesting parts to the castle. In the reception hall
there is a huge genealogical tree showing how the Hohenzollern family
rose to power and wealth. In the Museum there are priceless curios,
one of which is the crown of the King of Prussia Also, the chapel has
a stained glass window dating from the 13th century.
This well preserved castle is truly worth a visit. It is one of the
best preserved castles in Germany today.
On the slopes above Heidelberg is situated the most famous castle ruins
in Germany. The red sandstone castle was begun in the 13th century by
the local ruler.
During the following centuries the castle was often destroyed, rebuilt
and enlarged. Since each addition was made in the style of the day,
the castle is a museum of various styles of architecture. At the end
of the 17th century the French partially destroyed the castle (gunpowder
cracks still. appear in the base of the walls); however, it was rebuilt
only to be destroyed by lightning in 1764. It was not until the 20th
century that it was partly restored, as a monument.
A moat, high towers and great stone walls encompass an elegant courtyard.
The east wall begun in 1556 and finished 3 years later, is said to be
the most beautiful piece of Renaissance architecture, in Germany. It
is named the Otto-Keinrichs-Bau after the builder. The north wall (1601-1607),
has 16 statues of rulers of the Palatinate (early name for area around
Heidelberg), The castle is the scene of vast Illuminations during the
summer months (approximately 5 per year). A beautiful monument to the
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